December 26, 2007 by David Moles International Chiclet Apple “English International” wireless keyboard, as described here. Clearly I need to type more ±es and §s. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading... Related
The § key is a particular problem for me. It’s used commonly in legal writing, so I want it, but the English-US keyboard doesn’t have it.
So my options are:
(a) remember the alt- code for it
(b) have it available for cut and paste at all times
(c) install a custom keymapping on my laptop.
I took the geeky way out: option (c). I now have two English-US keymappings, and in one the ` key (which is used a lot in programming but never in law) is remapped to §.
I used to have some Windows alt-codes memorized, but once they went to four (five?) digits, I lost track. On the Mac § is just option-6. Which is fine so long as you’re not in a shell with option mapped to meta. — Of course, if you’re trying to type anything over 0x7f in a shell, you’re probably in trouble anyway. 🙂
I thought about the keymapping route. At work we have a whole mess of keyboards — American, British, Swiss German, German German — and when you’re say, in a conference room remoting into your Windows box upstairs, you’ve pretty much got no clue what layout you’re using, and the only thing you can do is bang on the keys and see what comes out. Plus, the unfortunately-popular OpenOffice has a nasty habit of switching keyboard layouts from spreadsheet cell to spreadsheet cell. (I assume they think they’re doing something helpful involving per-cell language settings, but they’re wrong.) So I decided that on the whole I’d rather be able to look at the keyboard in a pinch.
and when you’re say, in a conference room remoting into your Windows box upstairs, you’ve pretty much got no clue what layout you’re using, and the only thing you can do is bang on the keys and see what comes out.
I imagine that over time you’d learn certain key keys which would tell you which keyboard you’re on (y, say, to tell the difference between english/german), but still sounds annoying.
OpenOffice has a nasty habit of switching keyboard layouts from spreadsheet cell to spreadsheet cell
Telling you which layout you’re on is one thing, remembering where a layout you touch no more than once every three weeks has hidden all the important punctuation is something else.
I’m guessing OO thinks that if (say) the spell-check language for a certain cell is German, the keyboard layout should be, too. I can imagine how an entertaining “feature” like that might come about (“Shouldn’t we be using the global OS locale for this?”) but that doesn’t make it less stupid in practice.
Maybe StarOffice’s old major customers, whoever they were, were in the habit of producing shared documents where half was supposed to be edited by the UK office and half by the German office? Still lame.